Level of accuracy: city of Tucson, Arizona, USA
I got into the hobby of astrophotography early
enough to have suffered through multiple-hour, manually guided film
images. I do, however, consider myself blessed to have jumped in just
before the digital revolution hit and not having to suffer too long!
My image above shows my favorite
aspect of CCD imaging. I'm taking images from my suburban backyard with
the neighbors' lights on and the first quarter moon out. And with
automated sequences of exposures I can watch TV while I image instead of
sitting out in the middle of nowhere, freezing and waiting.
I also consider myself lucky to live
in one of the better areas of the world for astronomy and to be part of
a large community of astronomers. That has definitely benefited my
imaging. And I've fully crossed the threshold into spoiled when I
consider the fact that I work at a telescope shop (Starizona) and get to
play with all the cool toys that come along!
As if astronomy wasn't an
all-consuming hobby, I also enjoy photography, hiking, drawing,
running, playing guitar, and my current death-sport of choice is rock
Areas of interest
Primarily deep sky imaging, but I'll try anything.
Lately I've been doing a lot of narrowband imaging using H-alpha, OIII,
and SII filters
I've had a four-page spread in a really nice
Korean magazine, but I have no idea what they were saying about me! I
also have had images on the cover of Italy's biggest science magazine,
so apparently I'm big overseas. Of course, I'd be more likely to get
published in Sky & Telescope if I actually submitted images to them... I
should really start doing that. I've also got a few pictures books by
David Levy (cover of Guide to the Night Sky and a picture
inside Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets), Ken Graun (Touring
the Universe and What's Out Tonight), and Don Machholz (The
Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon).
I image a lot from my backyard, especially
with narrowband filters that let me image from a moderately
light-polluted area. For dark skies I head south of Tucson where we
typically get 6.0-6.5 magnitude skies. For a real road trip, we travel
to the Chiricahua Mountains in far southeastern Arizona. Elevations of
7000 feet and 100 miles from Tucson yield 7th magnitude skies. Well
worth the drive. Our latitude in southern AZ is around 32 degrees, so
we get decent southern sky coverage.
Well, I'm the poster child for obsessive-compulsive disorder, so I've
got to have a new scope every 6 months. My favorites have been a
Celestron 14" SCT and Astro-Physics 155EDF f/7 refractor. I also like
smaller refractors for wide-field imaging. My primary mount is an Astro-Physics
900GTO. I image mostly with an SBIG ST-10XME and I also have a Canon
20D. Most of my processing is done with MaxIm DL and Adobe Photoshop